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Summer Reading 2019 Entering 11th Grade

Princeton High School - 2019 Junior Summer Reading 

All rising juniors must complete the following reading assignments prior to the start of school in September.  While no written work is required, students should read carefully and thoughtfully.  You may want to take notes or keep a journal to stay actively engaged.  All students will participate in activities related to summer reading in early September and will complete one or more writing assignments involving these texts.

AP English III Students ONLY:  In addition to the two choice books noted below, all rising juniors who are planning to take AP English III  are required to read:

Several Short Sentences About Writing  by Verlyn Klinkenborg


Required for ALL rising juniors:  Choose and read ONE OF THE FOUR NOVELS  on this listIn addition, all rising juniors must read ONE  additional text from the list below (either a second novel, a drama, a poetry collection or a non-fiction text). 



Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This novel is the story of a Nigerian young woman who moves from Nigeria to Princeton and back again, sharing the milestones and obstacles, large and small, that mark her coming of age journey.


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

In Hurston’s novel, a young woman in the rural South faces a series of choices in following her heart in order to find love, her voice, and herself.


Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann

This post-9/11 novel centers on multiple narrators – each of whom face difficult choices in New York City in the early 1970s.  This contemporary text highlights a range of voices and a great tapestry of life experiences built around the exploits of a daredevil and acrobat who walks across a tightrope between the two World Trade Center buildings.   


There, There by Tommy Orange

Weaving together multiple narratives in distinct voices, Orange's contemporary novel pulls together his character's stories. The novel's narrators are all indigenous Americans, but their perspectives are diverse—and nearly all of them find their way to the same pow-wow for a profound conclusion.




Water by the Spoonfulby Quiara Alegria Hudes

Set in Philadelphia, the protagonist, Elliot, returns from Iraq and is struggling to find his place in the world while elsewhere, in a chatroom, recovering addicts forge a bond of love and support.  


The Humans by Stephen Karam

Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake and his wife descend upon their daughter’s apartment in lower Manhattan for Thanksgiving. As they sit down to share their meal, the family confronts its history, exposing the horrors that exist at its core. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award-winning play, The Humansasks what it means to be a family in contemporary America.


Angels in America by Tony Kushner

Set during the early days of the AIDS crisis, Kushner explores family, the effects of disease, political will, religious faith, and the myth of America. 



An Atlas of the Difficult Worldby Adrienne Rich

A 1992 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rich’s two-part collection of poems investigates the individual’s sometimes unnoticed identities.  The poems consider the sadness as well as the significance of the tensions that individuals manage.  Often political, Rich’s images illuminate the conflicted and nuanced nature of existence in society.


Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

In this thought-provoking and engaging collection of poetry, Vuong expresses conflicted emotions and perspectives as he reflects on his life as a refugee. His poetry wrestles with violence, the immigrant experience, sexuality, and the struggle between the inner life and the outer face.


Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

The epic poem by “America’s Bard,” written in 1855, analyzes the world through an exploration of his inner life.  





How Does It Feel to Be a Problem by Moustafa Bayoumi

This collection of stories, told from the perspective of seven young Arab immigrants, examines what it means to be young and Arab in America. Each young voice encounters unique struggles in trying to forge a new life, while constantly confronted by the fear of what others do not understand.


Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Bechdel’s graphic novel explores the life of her father, a closeted gay man, in the aftermath of his death, perhaps a tragic accident, perhaps a suicide. In learning about him, Bechdel dives deep into her identity and what her father’s identity means for her.


A Question of Freedom by Reginald Dwayne Betts

The text focuses on Betts's experiences with the American criminal justice system and the ways in which our society pushes to label and define people based on one action. His memoir considers the role of literature in helping him navigate his time in prison and questions how someone can remain free.


The Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore

This book tells the story of Ben Franklin’s younger sister Jane – an avid reader, a prolific writer, and a biting political commentator.  Yet, unlike her brother, her primary life role was not as a statesman but instead as a mother of twelve children. Lepore explores this lesser known – but not lesser – life.


The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday

This short novel features three voices that each tell the story of the Kiowa people: Momaday’s memories of stories from his childhood, the ancient Kiowa voice of his ancestors, and the historical record of these moments.